Here it is summer, but it sure doesn’t feel like it. Cold, rainy weather has plagued us thus far this year. Even worse, the cool, wet conditions have bred a bumper crop of mosquitoes.

The mosquito problem is worse than I have ever seen it. Hungry hoards of the little, whining monsters hover around doors, ready to fly in the moment someone enters or leaves. And when outdoors, mosquitoes immediately target any exposed flesh not treated with insect repellent. The situation is so bad that I saw a neighbor, a hardy individual who rarely defers to such minor impediments as mosquitoes, walking down the road with a full-body, insect-netting suit.

I recently made the mistake of sitting on a friend’s deck one evening, sipping single-malt Scotch and eating striped bass and deer meat, without applying insect repellent. Now my hands, wrists, fingers and neck are full of welts from mosquito bites. Let us hope that the weather pattern changes soon, or else we’ll be swatting mosquitoes on the Fourth of July and on into the summer.

In The Garden

While warm-weather crops still haven’t put on much new growth, cool-weather stuff like lettuce is doing well. So while our peas won’t be ready for the traditional July 4th salmon and peas, at least we can have a fresh salad with our frozen peas.

A shot of warm weather would work wonders for us now. Given a week of sunshine and temperatures above 70, our gardens should wake up and begin to grow as they should. Let us hope.

Perchin’ Prediction

Last week I made a trip to the Kennebec River in Waterville to go shad fishing with a friend. I caught eight shad, the largest running about 3 pounds each. Shad are a bony fish, so I put the fillets in a brine and smoked them. They taste exactly like kippered herring.

Panfish, too, are on the feed. I caught so many crappies that now my freezer brims with fillets, just the ticket for a wild meal on a cold, winter day.

Mackerel should arrive in Penobscot Bay in another week or so, giving us a chance to load up on delicious, nutritious fish. Broiled mackerel, a side of steamed clams and corn-on-the-cob make the quintessential summer meal and I’m anxious to partake of it.

Mackerel are regarded as an “underutilized” seafood species, meaning that commercial fishermen haven’t yet found a ready market for them. That translates to full stocks of fish, as many now as there ever were. So until someone figures out how to exploit them commercially, go out and catch all the mackerel you can use. It won’t hurt a thing.

Book Debut

My new book, “Getting your Big Fish – Trolling Maine Waters,” is due out sometime later this week. It contains everything I ever learned about the art of lake trolling for trout, salmon and togue. It will be available from Amazon, from the publisher: Just Write Books, Topsham, (207) 729-3600, jstwrite.com. Also, it should appear in sporting goods stores around Maine, as well as bookshops.

Weekly Quote

“It’s Fourth of July, and summer is halfway gone.” – Beatrice White